Cafe Bookshelf: In Search of Jan Ullrich


Title: Jan Ullrich: The Finest There By no means Was

Writer: Daniel Friebe

Writer: Pan Macmillan

12 months: 2022

Pages: 464

Order: HERE

What it’s: A correct biography, and a quest to essentially rediscover the enigmatic former Tour de France winner, Jan Ullrich

Strengths: Colorfully written portrait of the rider via the eyes of the individuals who know him greatest, not less than from the biking world.

Weaknesses: Not all quests finish in a satisfying method.

Because the daybreak of the Podium Cafe (18 years and counting, yo!), biking bookshelves have been filling up with fall-from-grace tales. A few of them are simply that — see the Lance Armstrong Room on the Texas State Library and Archives. Some are motivated by pleas for redemption on the creator’s half, with various levels of sincerity starting from “take care of it”-levels of denial to guys making an attempt to maneuver on with their lives. After which there are a choose handful which are… simply one thing else. Tales lined with immutable strains of craving that stir our souls in ways in which overcome the drabness of one other doping epic. Fairly a couple of Italian followers will enthusiastically go proper to this place when discussing Marco Pantani. A number of American followers can’t assist themselves when considering of Floyd Landis’ epic stage assault on the 2006 Tour de France. Tales like this enter into the grey areas of biking fandom, greatness, and ethics.

Just like the Jan UIlrich story. Famously a product of the East German sports activities system, simply because the nation and its systematic sports activities doping have been crumbling to the bottom, Ullrich emerged from behind the Iron Curtain to grow to be that the majority cautionary of tales, a super-talented athlete who rocketed to a superstardom for which he was uniquely — traditionally? — unprepared. Earlier than lengthy, he started to pay a steep worth for this, and like a wonderful mirage noticed in a scorching scorching desert, he simply disappeared earlier than we knew what occurred.

It’s exceptional that solely very lately, with the publishing of Daniel Friebe’s Jan Ullrich: The Finest There By no means Was, might we even learn and English language telling of this story. Friebe’s e-book was issued nearly a yr in the past by Pan Macmillan Press, to vital acclaim, getting 4.5 stars on Amazon and its share of glowing evaluations across the sport. There are not less than 4 prior books printed in German: a pair of forgettable gadgets dropped again in 2003, plus Der Fall Jan Ullrich from 2007. Nearly concurrently with Friebe’s e-book comes Ulle, by Sebastian Moll, well-known to Ullrich, who (per one description) “analyzes his profession in a benevolent and appreciative method,” no matter which means. I’ve seen references to an autobiography “written” by Jan — most likely not an amazing learn at this level. Oh, and there’s a four-part Amazon Prime collection that Ullrich himself has spoken of as if that’s the long-awaited actual story of his profession, however like a lot related to the person, it was scheduled for launch a number of months in the past however has not arrived.

Anyway, Friebe, armed together with his personal quite heartfelt method and appreciable language abilities, has tried to go deep on the topic, the actual query lingering in our minds, particularly why did his profession end up the way in which it did? It’s possible you’ll know Friebe from a wide range of sources — his books, his previous as a beat reporter, or more than likely his current because the erudite-yet-affable host of the Biking Podcast, the place he has stepped into the footwear of the present’s beloved late founder Richard Moore, and achieved a very admirable job of carrying the highly regarded present into its subsequent iteration.

Cycling / Feature: Demare - Le Bon / Team Fdj

Writer Friebe speaking to FDJ riders
Photograph by Mark Van Hecke/Getty Pictures

Together with his abilities and expertise, Friebe is nicely certified to search out sources round Europe, glean as a lot of the story, and inform it as elegantly as doable. It is a man who wrote a Merckx biography. However The Finest There By no means Was is exclusive in that it took Friebe near seven years to finish, a journey that displays the character of the e-book, which is itself an arduous quest to not simply inform the nuts and bolts story of a notable bicycle owner, however to know it.


Ullrich will eternally be remembered as the primary official German champion of the Tour de France — I say official, as a result of not like his bête noire, Armstrong, his outcomes nonetheless stand. However does his place in German hearts? Possibly. The harder calculation is the place that Germany stands in his coronary heart — a Germany by which he didn’t develop up and by which he has not lived full time since 2002. Tour de France winners are nearly at all times acquired as nationwide heroes, notably the first-ever winners, again house, but when there’s a extra difficult dynamic than Ullrich’s relationship to his followers, you’d have to return not less than so far as the Walkowiak victory in 1956 to search out it. And even there, whereas Walko’s victory may not have gotten the popularity it deserved at house, not less than he was at house.

Culturally, there may be loads of documentation about how residents of the previous East Germany have struggled to suit into the brand new reunified nation. Possibly that is fading now, however not for guys like Ullrich, who not solely straddled each side of the timeline, however who was fairly actually raised as a son of the state, in its vaunted sports activities academy, and with coaches entering into the vacant function of father. I can’t actually think about a extra poignant instance of an East German citizen set as much as wrestle with the cultural implications of Germany’s unification. And but, a day after successful the 1997 Tour de France, there he was smiling to a packed metropolis heart in Bonn the place tens of hundreds of followers screamed out his identify. Ullrich as soon as commented {that a} yr after his second place, when “even my postman didn’t know who I used to be… now girls are throwing themselves at me.”

Triumphaler Empfang für Tour-Sieger Ullrich in Bonn

Photograph by Gero Breloer/image alliance through Getty Pictures

He was not merely being hailed as a patriotic German citizen, however as an athletic phenomenon, the best rider of his technology — which, given his 23 years, was simply getting began. L’Equipe, the French sports activities media keepers of the Yellow Flame, proclaimed “Voila! Le Patron,” conferring untouchable standing on his younger shoulders, a successor of Hinault. Raymond Poulidor, now identified fondly as Mathieu van der Poel’s grandpa in addition to a French biking hero, stood by the aspect of the street in Arcalis as Ullrich soared to his iconic stage victory, proclaiming “c’est Merckx.” Individuals watching, individuals who ought to know, all of them put Jan in one other class.

That is simply a part of why Ullrich transcends the fallen-star label, to that of somebody whose huge potential we will nonetheless dream about, if solely we will unwind historical past and take EPO and different doping methods out of the game. No one does this for Armstrong, who wasn’t taken severely as a grand tour winner previous to his most cancers prognosis. Few outdoors Italy do that for Pantani, who appears extra like a generational climbing expertise to whom we will actually begrudge one Tour victory, however not rather more. However Ullrich, he was the full package deal. He was Merckx, he was Hinault. He was going to take the game and make all of it his personal.

And boy did he ever not come via.

Why Did Jan … Do No matter It Was He Did?

I’m avoiding saying Ullrich failed, as a result of he received one Tour, a Vuelta, Olympic Gold, world titles and so forth. He entered the Tour eight occasions and got here away with seven podium finishes (one since retracted for doping in 2005). His worst yr, he completed fourth. The checklist of riders who would commerce all of it for that file is lengthy.

However there isn’t any denying the frustration from his lack of ability to win a second Tour, notably when the explanations for this largely aren’t seen to followers. So — even conceding that “he’ll win 10 Excursions” created overblown expectations — why did he go down this pathway of vastly lowered charges of success from even affordable expectations?

Let’s have a look at among the causes individuals have cited.

Undefined Psychological Well being Points

I’m going to start out right here as a result of Friebe quotes one rider after one other saying stuff about Ullrich that expresses what we’d have written off as quirks 25 years in the past however now view as psychological well being points, a typical thread working via all of his issues.

Among the adjectives used to explain Ullrich are careless, inattentive, unrealistic, naive, overly optimistic, indecisive, impulsive and so forth. He reductions his errors when his sheer expertise overcomes them, quite than proudly owning as much as them. At a number of turns he’s described as terrified, overwhelmed, crumbling below the stress of his scenario — even in seemingly good occasions, like on the verge of his breakthrough Tour win. He’s ceaselessly fast to close out individuals who he thinks are attempting to power him to do one thing, largely avoiding the errors that he’ll then go on to low cost. There may be stubbornness after which there may be this type of reactiveness that causes him to behave in opposition to his personal pursuits. All of that is nicely corroborated by the individuals closest to him at Telekom.

Tour De France Stage 10

Photograph by Bryn Lennon/Getty Pictures

But, for all of the harm this did to his profession, when he wasn’t exasperating his teammates he was beautiful them with how he might out of the blue flip again into the celebrity expertise and succeed — up to some extent. He additionally appeared nicely favored and even beloved on a private degree. Or not less than the blokes we hear from in Friebe’s e-book tended to be on his aspect, after they have been achieved pulling their hair out.

The nervousness might be inherited or attributable to damaging experiences,… not my career, so I’ll simply say that there’s ample proof that he couldn’t deal with the overwhelming consideration and stress of being who he was, particularly throughout the Tour. [And in a few other races, although he often thrived in big moments outside the Tour. He’d have made a spectacular one-day racer, with no next day to get stressed about.] He tried to retire a number of occasions, together with early in 2001, and is described by Friebe’s witnesses as seeming relieved on the events the place he needed to skip the Tour (‘99 and ‘02, with knee accidents). Some individuals are not constructed for stardom, full cease. However with Ullrich, it’s nearly actually extra difficult than that.


Ullrich is a convicted EPO consumer, and I’m not excusing that. However I don’t know what we must always say about it. By all accounts, he was a hands-down natural-born expertise, so if doping didn’t exist, he most likely would have been higher off than any variety of his closest rivals — notably Armstrong, extra on him in a second.

It have to be stated, Ullrich was unrepentant about his doping, would say excessive issues about how different guys must be kicked out, however then later excuse his personal transgressions saying that he didn’t do something totally different from anybody else. He most likely began doping on the earliest phases of his professional profession, like 1995, although among the early Telekom transgressions are a bit exhausting to pin down. He confessed to simply about nothing and refused to return his 2000 Olympic medals or relinquish any outcomes. Like each different model of Ullrich speaking about stuff, he did a horrible job with doping.

Cycling : Tour De France 2006 / T-Mobile

Ullrich departs 2006 Tour
Photograph by Tim De Waele/Getty Pictures

Early on in Ullrich’s profession, doping was given nearly carte blanche, which might account for (if not excuse) his flippant responses to the topic. However by the top it was a stain on his identify. By the top Pantani had been disgraced and died, he and Basso principally kicked out of the Tour with the Puerto guys, Armstrong the unloved champion due to all of the suspicion, particularly in France. Doping riders have been pushed more and more into the shadows, reviled by correct society, an precise mafia.

I’m not saying the riders don’t deserve their share of the blame, however I’ll say this — they bought approach an excessive amount of of the disgrace. The groups and the UCI did rather a lot to create the scenario, however other than Willy Voet and some docs, it’s the riders who bought trotted out because the dangerous guys and who bear the disgrace of all of it. Now, to be clear, you don’t need to really feel dangerous for them should you don’t need. I’m simply saying, disgrace is an element for the Puerto guys. This results in one other subject…

Being East German

This half has as a lot to do with how individuals perceived him as with how he perceived himself, as a result of being an Ossi, as he famously is, got here with numerous baggage within the late Nineteen Nineties. [East and West Germans refer to themselves as Ossis and Wessis, or did for a while anyway.]

Friebe recounts how younger Jan confirmed up in Berlin, as he graduated from Dynamo Rostock West to a much bigger, higher athletic program, together with his Peace Race poster depicting Olaf Ludwig. By the 80s that didn’t say rather a lot about Jan apart from that the Peace Race was persevering with to operate as a prestigious occasion and one the place DDR athletes might count on to compete, however the origins of the Peace Race, advised so nicely in Herbie Sykes’ The Race Towards the Stasi, are that of a pecking order by which Russian athletes have been on the high and East Germans nearer to, or perhaps at, the underside. Within the Nineteen Fifties, when the race took off, to even be East German was a precarious, shame-filled, even violence-ridden existence, because the post-war wounds continued to fester and bits of the previous Fatherland have been carved up by vengence-minded neighboring international locations. However the Peace Race was simply that — an try and convey individuals collectively from across the Japanese Bloc, and foster a higher sense of unity behind the Iron Curtain. In response to Sykes’ account, it labored, to the purpose that the DDR that Ullrich was born into was not almost the whipping boy of a fledgeling nation anymore, and cycling-wise they caught up there too.

Rückblick - Jan Ullrich bei Bezirksmeisterschaften 1986

Younger Jan, second from proper
Photograph by SVB Sportverlag Berlin/image alliance through Getty Pictures

Followers, in flip, have been fast to affiliate Ullrich with the East German sports activities machine, usually for the least flattering causes. By the point anybody knew who Ullrich was, it was a number of years previous the autumn of the Wall and the reunification of Germany — but it surely was proper smack dab in the midst of the nation’s reckoning with the DDR’s huge and merciless sports activities doping program. Former monitor star Brigitte Berendonk and academic-turned-anti-doping pioneer Werner Franke paired as much as write an Earth-shattering expose on “State Planning Theme 14.45,” this system — titled for optimum banality — by which high athletes within the DDR got doses of the steroid oral turinabol, usually unwittingly or with out consent, to be able to speed up the nation’s sports-washing of its gloomy satellite tv for pc dictatorship repute. See Dr. Steven Ungerleider’s thorough reporting in Faust’s Gold: Contained in the East German Doping Machine, for all of the terrible particulars.

Readers in Western Europe most likely have a greater deal with on these things than us Individuals, however for a fast recap… The Berendonk-Franke exposé empowered quite a few different victims to return ahead. The reunified state then put a bunch of individuals related to State Planning Theme 14.45 on trial for the hurt they inflicted on athletes, ensuing within the convictions in 2000 of Lothar Kipke, Mafred Höppner and Manfred Ewald. It additionally fed the stereotype whereby individuals like me might simplistically view East Germany as a soulless state which might actually destroy its youth to seize some gold medals and headlines. I watched the 1976 Olympics, the place the DDR completed behind solely the USSR in medal counts, partially with swimmers and monitor athletes whose our bodies seemed nothing just like the individuals round us, and even their shut rivals. By then, the steroid use was barely even a secret.

The truth, detailed painfully by Ungerleider, was far, far darker. Doping wasn’t merely abused, however achieved in horrible methods to kids who had been spirited away from their households to sports activities academies, fed little blue capsules they knew nothing about, and watched their our bodies spiral uncontrolled in nightmarish methods… outdoors of competitors, the place the capsules labored precisely as hoped. At his trial Kipke was tagged by his prosecutor, Michael Lehner, as “the Josef Mengele of the GDR doping system,” a tremendously surprising factor to say in 2000 — however equally not possible to disclaim. To the East German system, the Hippocratic Oath meant simply as little because it did to the Nazi docs who practiced their evil deeds in service of glorifying the state (and who fed steroids to their troopers for that further killing edge). Ewald, the Olympic program chief and Minister of Sport for the DDR, was actually a Nazi — a Hitler Youth, social gathering member, and so forth. One can not, in fact, equate the DDR athletes’ expertise to that of Holocaust victims, however to anybody with compassion it’s exhausting to keep away from the parallels. That is the superheated atmosphere by which Ullrich’s rise to greatness happened.

No shock, then, that Ullrich was usually known as “robotic,” due to his regular, overgeared model of using, although it was a lazy label at greatest. He didn’t resemble the “robotic” jap bloc swimmers, monitor athletes, and so forth, from 20 years earlier — no street bicycle owner would. And so far as DDR sports activities manufacturing facility doping goes, in his intensive testimony to Friebe, Ullrich’s long-time coach courting again from his Rostock days, Peter Becker, swears that Ullrich’s expertise with the state-planned sports activities program by no means included doping. Logically, the story is smart — street biking wasn’t particularly vital in comparison with the massive Olympic occasions, and the late 80s have been nothing just like the early 60s when there was no backlash in opposition to steroids to make the sports activities ministry bat an eye fixed. Positive, Ullrich rode monitor, however steroids are sort of a combined bag to all cyclists, particularly climbers. The extra refined, prohibitively costly doping merchandise discovered a decade later in biking weren’t obtainable to nameless East German youngsters. One by no means is aware of what to totally consider, in fact. He was doped, ultimately, when he moved to the west, right into a sport the place doping had reached necessary standing, and maybe his DDR upbringing ready him to shrug it off as no massive deal. However that’s a separate matter.

Tour De France X

To be clear, Ullrich WAS a product of the DDR sports activities system. He was actually in Berlin, on the Dynamo academy there, the evening the wall got here down, and ventured over to West Berlin within the aftermath to buy groceries. He grew up on this inflexible system, dwelling within the dorms, learning communist dogma and swearing loyalty to the state. Friebe teases out some actually attention-grabbing wrinkles concerning the biking program although. Becker was one thing of a free spirit and went nicely past the picture of robotic athletic coaching, taking his fees snowboarding, or leaping in lakes, ice skating, taking part in soccer — all types of cross coaching that you simply wouldn’t count on in a inflexible system. He wished them to truly have enjoyable, Becker says, and piling on the miles had its limits. Years later, his teammate Rolf Aldag, from Münster within the West, talked about how rather more pure Ullrich seemed on his bike, visually, due to all of the issues he did moreover experience his bike, whereas the Wessi cyclists simply piled on miles within the hours between going to their day jobs.

One other anecdote, from Peter Sager, considered one of Ullrich’s earliest sports activities coaches, talked about how the DDR might need had this repute for the doping regime, however largely what it did was practice athletes from an early age utilizing refined sports activities science. Whereas his western counterparts have been poorly coached in the event that they have been coached in any respect, Ullrich and his associates have been being organized into packages that had them racing continuously — an enormous benefit over people within the west. On steadiness, Ullrich was higher coached and extra well-rounded from his academy days than his western counterparts — hardly some monstrous robotic in any respect.

However there he was, within the cultural maelstrom of reunification the ahead face of the brand new nation. Even probably the most assured, confident Easterner would have struggled to stroll straight onto that stage, at the moment, and defy all of the stereotypes, belittling, and dehumanizing that got here with the politics of that period. Ullrich was nowhere close to such an individual.

Jan Ullrich & Alpecin - Press Conference

Photograph by Thomas Starke/Bongarts/Getty Pictures


This half is nearly comical in a way — that Jan would eat enormous quantities of meals and acquire tons of weight every winter, anathema to a bicycle owner. Friebe hears one anecdote after one other about what individuals noticed him eat (“two pints of ice cream in an hour!”). He collects quite a few tales of immensely annoyed crew employees urging Ullrich to curb his dangerous habits, solely to impress offended reactions. It may possibly sound humorous at occasions, but it surely nearly actually wasn’t.

Binge consuming is a severe dysfunction whose underlying causes aren’t nicely established, however quantity nervousness and melancholy amongst them. I’m not certified to say rather more, however I can confidently posit that Ullrich’s consuming was a type of self-sabotage that went past merely liking meals rather a lot. When he received in 1997, Friebe information individuals as describing him as svelte, which was how he seemed the earlier yr when he completed second. Solely when he turned a champion, when his complete outlook modified nearly in a single day (e.g., his retirement dalliances), did the burden downside floor.

The ramifications for his biking profession are sort of fascinating, in that he would fall impossibly far behind in his health till making good seconds earlier than the Tour, then beat nearly everybody on the planet, save for Armstrong. Little doubt sports activities scientists would have beloved to check him extra carefully to find out whether or not sudden weight reduction had downstream ramifications for an endurance athlete of his stature, which appears logical sufficient, besides that Ullrich’s expertise (and the supply of EPO) masked a lot if not fairly the entire draw back. At a minimal, although, Ullrich carried a couple of extra kilos through the years — from 67 to 69, 71, 74… it simply crept up a bit, however as everyone knows, these marginal variations are huge throughout three weeks. It’s exhausting to say definitively, however you may make a fairly nifty-sounding case that he did in truth eat himself out of a number of Tour wins.

Lance Armstrong (and Marco Pantani)

For all his mindset challenges, self-sabotage, and various errors, solely two males ever stopped Ullrich from successful the Tour — Marco Pantani and Lance Armstrong. The previous, Telekom simply fully didn’t see coming (after Pantani fell six minutes behind early within the 1998 Tour and Telekom handed up possibilities to bury him earlier than the mountains), whereas the latter pulled himself out of the most cancers ward and again onto his bike, all the way in which to … you understand the story. Ullrich served as Armstrong’s foil, and was by no means fairly as much as the problem the bullying American offered.

One of many true highlights of The Finest There By no means Was is when Friebe sits down with Armstrong and will get a completely Lanceified retelling of the conflict tales. However there’s an unbelievable twist to the story within the aftermath of their battles: they turned associates, even deeper than that, to the purpose the place Armstrong flew to Germany in 2019 to verify in on Ullrich, who stated two years later that he was then “almost lifeless, like Pantani” and credit Armstrong with serving to him save himself from sluggish suicide. So Jan has this unlikely, however very deep and vital appreciation for Lance.

Tour 2000: Jan Ulrich and Lance Armstrong

Photograph by Gero Breloer/image alliance through Getty Pictures

Lance, although, feels one thing actually massive for Jan too. Speaking to Friebe, he recounts how Ullrich got here to the Workforce Discovery victory social gathering in Paris on the finish of the 2005 Tour, an unheard-of approach for the vanquished to behold the victor. As he’s saying this, Armstrong breaks down and cries, sobbing, apparently, going deep into his personal connectedness to his rival, an incomprehensible break from his alpha character. Friebe is there for this uncooked second concerning the hyperlink between two individuals, each elite biking champions, each deeply wounded not directly — by fame? by disgrace? by absent, unloving fathers? — and yeah, the ensuing on-bike psychology couldn’t be extra totally different. Lance channeled his ache into turning into an unstoppable power, whereas Jan’s ache turned him right into a jumble of contradictions and self-sabotaging conduct. However within the aftermath they uncover how alike they’re in spite of everything. In the event that they find yourself later in life sharing an condo collectively in Paris, overlooking the Champs-Élysées and simply going via their each day routines, figuring out that they share a bond no person else can perceive… I’m unsure that’s off the desk.

You possibly can watch them yuk it up on the 2021 Worlds with Bruyneel and Hincapie. It looks like gentle enjoyable, however mere weeks later Armstrong was summoned to Cancun, Mexico to be by Ullrich’s aspect at a hospital the place Der Jan had been taken following some type of relapse into medicine and/or alcohol. The friendship endures, however so does the darkness from which it was born.


The purpose of my recapping these tales, all of that are a lot extra poignantly and painstakingly detailed by Friebe, is to counsel the existence of a typical thread that runs via your entire Ullrich biography, some deep wound that Ullrich himself has solely hinted at publicly, and has solely shared to individuals like Armstrong and Becker (who says he is aware of rather more however will take these secrets and techniques to his grave). Possibly the forthcoming documentary will embody the revelation that explains all of it — assuming the documentary is definitely forthcoming. Ullrich has stated as a lot, however everybody in Jan’s orbit would let you know to not financial institution on that.

The tip result’s that Ullrich: The Finest That By no means Was can’t fill within the clean any higher than the opposite explanations on the market. One supply, a former DDS athlete who works with different victims named Ines Geipel, presents her concept that even athletes not subjected to the worst steroid excesses of the sports activities academy system nonetheless suffered from a disorienting psychological reprogramming at such an early age that may depart individuals hopelessly adrift as adults. Contemplating that at Dynamo Berlin the individual in cost was Eric Mielke, an notorious Stasi officer, and kids have been labeled “versuchperson” aka check topics… perhaps. His chat with Geipel is an indication that Friebe has thought-about each doable clarification for Ullrich’s lengthy historical past of instability that he can responsibly put in writing — and I’m guessing a couple of extra that he needed to miss.

One touching side of the e-book is how Friebe in the end finally ends up on a quest — which he describes in higher element on The Biking Podcast’s June 5, 2022 version. His quest begins to reflect the topic he’s masking, as Friebe talks about fighting nervousness over the e-book and its ultrasensitive topic. However there may be one other attention-grabbing, endearing component I don’t consider he has talked about: how this e-book and its creation resembles Richard Moore’s In Search of Robert Millar, the breakthrough e-book that put Friebe’s pricey good friend and eventual podcast associate into the mainstream of biking media.

I had the pleasure of talking with Moore across the publication of that e-book in 2007 and listened to Moore discuss his private connection to the topic and his fascination with Millar’s disappearance that drove him to uncover the thriller. Or try and anyway. It wasn’t till 2017 that we bought our reply, that Millar had transitioned to her new id as Philippa York. Whereas Moore’s pursuit of the thriller might really feel totally different in hindsight, as all of us grow to be rather more conscious of what transgendered individuals face, I took Moore’s motivations to be that of an admiring fan who merely didn’t know why his hero had disappeared. York, to her credit score, managed to protect her privateness moderately nicely till a later time when she determined it was secure to return out. York has been a public determine within the sport, running a blog at CyclingNews and showing on ITV’s Tour protection.

In writing The Finest There By no means Was, Friebe is on a equally tough and delicate quest. He tried to speak to Ullrich in 2015 and was rebuffed, though he says Ullrich did enable a few of his associates to speak to Friebe for the e-book. From there, the e-book went on hiatus, as Ullrich descended to his lowest place, a cocktail of habit and violent conduct, which then led to the German disappearing from public view for some three years as he pieced his life again collectively. The closest Friebe got here to assembly Ullrich was in 2022 when he talked to his “quasi-guardian” Mike Baldinger, however Ullrich wasn’t fairly prepared to return ahead. Friebe’s quest ends in a restaurant in Mergingen having lastly run aground, as quests typically do, however to a fan of each his and Moore’s collective works, I can’t assist however discover this connection to be part of the bigger connection they shared of their days on the Biking Podcast.